Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Weighty Issue

I questioned whether to even publish this post. It seems whiny and self-indulgent. But, for the sake of the honesty and transparency I committed myself to when I started this blog, here it goes.

I’ve gained 40 pounds since my wedding. Twenty pounds with each child. With my first child I really thought that I needed to eat ice cream and Taco Bell each day. So I did. I once made my husband cross 3 lanes of traffic to get to Taco Bell so I could have a 7-Layer Burrito.

By the time my body fully recovered from that first pregnancy, I gained twenty pounds.

Ashamed of my gluttony during my first pregnancy, I resolved to eat better the second time around. For the first twenty weeks I did great. I threw up everything I ate and lost 10 pounds. And although I was put on limited activity for my entire third trimester, my weight gain was very healthy.

I still gained twenty pounds.

God Bless Husband, who truly believes I’ve only become more beautiful.

I’ve been in denial about my weight gain. I reasoned that since I can button up my pants (regardless of the blubber spilling over), that I’m doing ok. I reasoned that since I’ve got an hourglass figure, I look voluptuous, not fat. I simply stopped picturing what I looked like from the shoulders down, preferring to imagine what I used to look like.

I don’t look voluptuous. I’m not big boned and I’m not tall. I’ve got to much fat on a frame not sized to hold it all. I look out-of-shape. I look slovenly. I looked up my BMI and I’m well into the overweight range.

Is this what people think whenever they look at me?

I can’t keep denying this. It’s so easy to ignore the truth.

I was a skinny child. Not just little, skinny. I was a slender young adult. I never had to worry about my weight. I ate reasonably, indulged when I wanted, stayed moderately active, and everything was fine.

Not so much anymore. I still eat reasonably, and only indulge occasionally, but even so, I’m always hungry. Despite eating three healthy meals a day, I’m ravenous by 8 pm, and need a substantial snack (like a bowl of cereal) to feel full enough to sleep.

Just chasing and hauling my two kids around our 2-story home all day isn’t enough. I haven’t exercised regularly since 2007. Working bizarre hours at a full-time job and taking care of two babies drained me of time and energy.

And I’m tired of this. I’m tired of hating my appearance. I’m tired of feeling old and worn out.

So yesterday I joined a gym.

It is less than 10 minutes from my house. It has free childcare.

I’m excited to get going. Just because I haven’t been doing it doesn’t mean I don’t like exercise. It’s incredibly good for my mental health. Sweat and stress seem to drain from my body; I feel physically and mentally detoxified.

But I can’t seem to defend myself against the critic inside that says “You’re fat and there’s nothing you can do about it.” It’s the same critic that silenced me all my life - “If you aren’t naturally wonderful at this, you are a failure and there’s nothing that can be done to exonerate you for this.”

I know I will never look like I did pre-pregnancy. But I’m hoping to at least love myself the way I look now.


Desiree said...

Hey...I am joining the Princeton Club AS SOON AS I move back! :) Is that where you joined? I was wondering if you wanted to join with me? I love that it has free daycare...even sending Lukas off for a bit will be nice (although I nevous to give him to someone still). Maybe we can even go after the kids go to bed? Will you be my partner? Funny...since that is how we met..two people who didn't love fitness but just did it anyhow. I have been dealing with the same issue. Of course I have never been skinny and have ALWAYS battled this, but now I am a size 16!!!! I was a size 6-7 when I met you, then was a 9 when I got married, then 12 when I had a 16!!! Good for you for joining a gym. Can't wait to see you. Love you!

@adelas said...

I just about cried at this, because of the second-to-last paragraph. That critic sits on my shoulders, too.
What I want to know is, how do you turn off the voice saying "if you mess up once (on a diet/exercise/schedule/plan), you might as well quit"?

Angela Pelnar Wherritt said...

Still working on turning off that damn voice. I swear it follows me everywhere. My new motto is "The best laid plans..." That is, sometimes even the best of plans & intentions don't work out and that is ok. We'll see if that motto helps.